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Windows 7 64-Bit Vs. 32-Bit

Updated on February 16, 2012

There are two versions of Microsoft windows operating system on the market today. The versions are the 32 bit version and the 64 bit version of windows 7. The biggest difference between the two is how it utilizes the maximum amount of memory in a system. The 32 bit operating system is unable to read anything more than 4 GB of memory installed. A lot of the time it will not even read the full 4GB of the operating system. The 64 GB version of the operating has no upper limit on how much memory can be read so it is able to utilize the memory more effectively.

Not all problems with the 64 bit and 32 bit versions of Microsoft Windows 7 are so clear cut. When it comes to programs and hardware, it can get a little bit more complicated. In the 32 bit version of windows, it is common to have incompatibility with older programs that you may have used or still use on older operating systems. This is because before 64bit OS started going mainstream there certainly were no programs made for it. When windows 7 came out all of a sudden all these new programs built to take advantage of the 64 bit OS started to hit the market.

This can cause a small dilemma for home and business users who rely allot on the old 32 bit programs to get work completed. No, most of the time basic 32 bit programs will run just fine on windows 64 bit. It creates a separate directory to help you identify the difference in the file system. But, for those that do not windows has a decent compatibility mode to allow you to use the old programs as they function in the old 32 bit mode. Now, if, you have programs or hardware older then that it may be time to upgrade because they probably will not work in the 64 bit version of the windows Operating system.

Now when installing a version of windows 64 bit, my best advice is to do an entirely new installation of the OS and not upgrade from a previous version. Since, you are going from a 32 bit OS to a 64 not everything, will be compatible. Windows will even do upgrade check prior to installing anything to let you know what needs to be updated. But, this seems to cause more problems than what it is worth some time. So, back up your current files and do a totally new installation of windows that way you can identify them as you start to add the programs back in.

Browsers are the next biggest issue with the 64 bit version. Many of the websites you visit today use a combination of different elements to help bring it alive. When you are, using the 64bit browser that comes with it a lot of the plug-ins are not yet designed to install with it. Luckily Microsoft was smart for once and decided to include a 32 bit version if IE in your programs menu.

Over all, I love the 64 bit version it takes more advantage of my memory allocation and processors I have on my computer. Yes, there are some incompatibilities, but they are few and far between. But, I got a close look at the new windows 8 developer version today, and it looks like they are trying for a straight 64bit Operating system now. So heads up people it may be time to upgrade sooner then you thought you would.


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